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Mystery Players

History of the Group

The IHC Mystery Players were formed in 1981 under the direction of Fr. J. Michael Gaffney. Since that time the group has presented their unique form of prayer in churches throughout New York State. The group has also traveled to Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Canada.

What Do We Do?

The group performs “The Birth of Jesus” during Advent and the very powerful “Way of the Cross” during Lent. In addition, the group has performed to other plays, “The way of the Cross for those Dealing with Cancer” and “Jesus’ Story is Our Story”.

Who We Are

The group is composed of members of the student body who have expressed an interest in being in the group. Members come from all “walks of life” in the building. These students will be spending most of their Sundays during the school year in church either practicing or putting on a performance.

This is not a play in the traditional form of the word. Players take a different role each night and only know their part for that evening once we leave for the church.

Through the use of paraliturgical readings, music, special lighting and pantomime the Mystery Players will hope to bring the story of Jesus to those in attendance.

Photos of Lent & Advent

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Interested in having us?

Video Example

Places We've Attended


Our Mystery Players have been all around and are willing to travel to you!

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  • St. Cecilia's, Adams, NY.

  • Village Baptist Church, Adams, NY.

  • Christ the King, Albany, NY.

  • St. Vincent de Paul, Albany, NY.

  • St. Cyril's, Alex Bay, NY.

  • United Methodist Church, Alex Bay, NY.

  • St. Mary's, Antwerp, NY.

  • St. Mary's, Auburn, NY.

  • St. Paul's, Black River, NY.

  • St. Paul's Episcopal, Black River, NY.

  • St. Patrick's, Brasher Falls, NY.

  • Concordia College, Bronxville, NY.

  • Immaculate Conception, Brownville, NY.

  • St. Mary's, Brushton, NY.

  • St. Mary's, Canton, NY.

  • St. Vincent de Paul, Cape Vincent, NY.

  • St. James, Carthage, NY.

  • St. Paul's United Methodist, Castleton, NY.

  • St. James, Cazenovia, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Champlain, NY.

  • St. Patrick’s, Chateaugay, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Clayton, NY.

  • St. Pius V, Cohocton, NY.

  • St. Patrick’s, Colton, NY.

  • St. Bernadette’s, Constantia, NY.

  • St. Francis of Assisi, Constable, NY.

  • St. Stephen’s, Croghan, NY.

  • St. Mary’s of the Lake, Cumberland Head, NY.

  • St. Henry’s, Dekalb Junction, NY.

  • St. Rita’s, Deferiet, NY.

  • Our Lady of Fatima, Delanson, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, Dolgeville, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Evans Mills, NY.

  • Immaculate Conception, Fayetteville, NY.

  • Main Post Chapel, Fort Drum, NY.

  • Immaculate Conception, Glenville, NY.

  • St. James, Gouverneur, NY.

  • St. Peter’s, Hammond, NY.

  • St. Francis Solanus, Harrisville, NY.

  • Sts. Anthony and Joseph, Herkimer, NY.

  • St. Raphael’s, Heuvelton, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Indian Lake, NY.

  • St. James, Johnson City, NY.

  • Our Lady of Victory, Lackawanna, NY.

  • St. Agnes, Lake Placid, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, Little Falls, NY.

  • St. John’s, Liverpool, NY.

  • Christ Our Light, Loudonville, NY.

  • St. Lawrence, Louisville, NY.

  • St. Peter’s, Lowville, NY.

  • St. John the Baptist, Madrid, NY.

  • Notre Dame, Malone, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, Malone, NY.

  • Sacred Heart, Massena, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, Massena, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Massena, NY.

  • St. Mary’s by the Sea, Mexico, NY.

  • St. Augustine’s, Morrisonville, NY.

  • St. John the Evangelist, Morristown, NY.

  • St. Therese, Newcomb, NY.

  • St. John the Baptist, Newport, NY.

  • Church of the Visitation, Norfolk, NY.

  • St. Augustine’s, North Bangor, NY.

  • St. Andrew’s, Norwood, NY.

  • Notre Dame, Ogdensburg, NY.

  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ogdensburg, NY.

  • St. Bartholomew’s, Old Forge, NY.

  • Nativity of our Lord, Orchard Park, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, Oswego, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Oswego, NY.

  • Sacred Heart, Perkinsville, NY.

  • St. Augustine’s, Peru, NY.

  • St. Stephen’s, Phoenix, NY.

  • Newman Center, Plattsburgh, NY.

  • St. John’s, Plattsburgh, NY.

  • St. Peter’s, Plattsburgh, NY.

  • Seton Catholic, Plattsburgh, NY.

  • St. Patrick’s, Port Henry, NY.

  • St. Martin’s, Port Leyden, NY.

  • St. Francis of Assisi, Potsdam, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Potsdam, NY.

  • St. John’s, Pulaski, NY.

  • St. Patrick’s, Ravena, NY.

  • St. Theodore’s, Rochester, NY.

  • St. Paul’s, Rome, NY.

  • St. Peter’s, Rome, NY.

  • St. Vincent de Paul, Rossiere, NY.

  • St. Andrew’s, Sackets Harbor, NY.

  • St. Bernard’s, Saranac Lake, NY.

  • Blessed Sacrament, Syracuse, NY.

  • Lemoyne College, Syracuse, NY.

  • St. Charles Borromeo, Syracuse, NY.

  • St. Lucy’s, Syracuse, NY.

  • St. Mary’s, Ticonderoga, NY.

  • St. Augustine’s, Troy, NY.

  • Holy Name, Tupper Lake, NY.

  • St. Alphonsus, Tupper Lake, NY.

  • St. Vincent de Paul, Vestal, NY.

  • St. Matthew’s, Voohresville, NY.

  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Warners, NY.

  • Asbury Methodist, Watertown, NY.

  • Henry Keep Home, Watertown, NY.

  • Holy Family, Watertown, NY.

  • Immaculate Heart C.S., Watertown, NY.

  • Madonna Home, Watertown, NY.

  • SSJ Motherhouse, Watertown, NY.

  • Sacred Heart, Watertown, NY.

  • St. Anthony’s, Watertown, NY.

  • St. Patrick’s, Watertown, NY.

  • Summit Village Nursing Home, Watertown, NY.

  • Trinity Episcopal, Watertown, NY.

  • Holy Trinity, Webster, NY.

  • St. Joseph’s, West Chazy, NY.

  • St. Phillip of Jesus, Willsboro, NY.

  • St. Jude the Apostle, Wynantskill, NY.

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  • St. Rose of Lima, Newtown, CT.

  • Mt. DeSales Academy, Catonsville, MD.

  • St. Brigid’s, Amherst, MA.

  • Newman Center - UMass, Amherst, MA.

  • Assumption, Bellingham, MA.

  • Assumption, Chicopee, MA.

  • St. Stanislaus, Chicopee, MA.

  • St. Mary’s, East Walpole, MA.

  • St. Ann’s, Fairview, MA.

  • St. Joseph’s, Holbrook, MA.

  • Our Lady of the Cross, Holyoke, MA.

  • St. Mary’s by the Sea, Marshfield, MA.

  • Marion Community Center, Medway, MA.

  • St. Bartholomew’s, Needham, MA.

  • Holy Family, South Deerfield, MA.

  • St. Mary’s of the Assumption, Turner’s Falls, MA.

  • St. Joseph’s, Wakefield, MA.

  • St. Margaret Mary, Westwood, MA.

  • Holy Rosary, Winthrop, MA.

  • Nativity of Our Lord, Annandale, NJ.

  • St. Agnes, Blackwood, NJ.

  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Glassboro, NJ.

  • Our Lady of Nazareth, Monroe, NJ.

  • Our Lady of Grace, Somerdale, NJ.

  • Sts. Peter and Paul, Turnersville, NJ.

  • Assumption, Woodridge, NJ.

  • Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School, Charlotte, NC

  • St. Gabriel’s, Charlotte, NC.

  • St. Mark’s, Huntersville, NC.

  • St. Patrick’s, Carlisle, PA.

  • USAWC Memorial Chapel, Carlisle, PA.

  • Most Precious Blood, Hazelton, PA.

  • Holy Family, Nazareth, PA.

  • St. Martin of Tours, New Hope, PA.

  • St. John the Baptist, Ottsville, PA.

  • Blessed Sacrament, Alexandria, VA.

  • Our Lady of Nazareth, Roanoke, VA.

  • St. Columban’s, Cornwall, Canada.

  • St. Peter’s, Cornwall, Canada.

  • St. Paul the Apostle, Kingston, Canada.

View Our Current Lent Schedule!

FAQ

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How much does it cost to host the Mystery Players?

First of all, we never turn anyone away who wants to host us.

Our only source of income is from the parish stipend and the free will offering from those who come to watch the Mystery Play. Please call for a quote on a suggested donation.

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What else must we do to host the group?

We ask for a meal to be provided for us about 2 hours before the Mystery Play starts. We also ask for an area where we can pray as a group before the Play. We need access to the church and sanctuary from about 4 hours before the Play begins.

For overnight trips, we need a place to sleep. We bring sleeping bags and air mattresses. We may need a hotel room reserved for our bus driver. We pay for that. If we can get a shower in the morning, that would be great but not necessary.

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Where does the Mystery Play take place?

The actual Mystery Play takes place primarily in the sanctuary of the church. We move whatever we can to create the space needed to do the Play. We move the altar if possible as well as other things we feel need to be moved. We take a picture and return everything to its original place when we are done.

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How many people are in the group?

There are between 20-25 of us. The students plus 5 adults.

Quotes


Read what people have said about our Mystery Players!

"It is a pleasure for me to recommend to you the Immaculate Heart Central School Mystery Players. I know for myself that being present for these experiences has fostered my own spiritual renewal during the Lenten and Advent seasons. I hope they can do the same for those who have the privilege of watching the IHC Mystery Players in their local parish."

  - Bishop Terry LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg

“Thank you for coming to Newtown once again. Your presentation truly is a healing for all of  us.  The graces that flow from these teens is remarkable.  Your guidance and good faith is obvious.  I pray that you are able to maintain this ministry for many years to come.”

  - Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, CT, site of Sandy Hook Elementary School

“The Mystery Players will re-energize and invigorate your faith. Amazing what young people can teach us about faith in action. Thanks, Steve, for bringing them to Amherst!”

  - Tommy Goodrow

“All of us who saw the presentation before felt this version was even MORE MOVING, and we thought the first one we saw was very moving. Fr. Chris, myself, and all others say the same thing. We were all moved on many levels. Your team, along with the students, are a blessing while you bring love, hope, and the message of the Bible to life with your prayerful and powerful presentation.”

  - Peggy in attendance at St. Matthew’s in Voohreesville

“I must admit that I was touched and moved to tears through most of it. The ending really hit me and others that I spoke to afterwards. I believe the Holy Spirit has gifted you in your mission. Thanks is not enough to express my appreciation for you and your group. Praise the Lord and God bless you.”

  - Nancy Cortese in attendance at St. Rose of Lima in Newtown, CT

“I cannot thank you all enough for bringing this “Play” to us. You should know the gift your performance is. It has been a long time since I have been so moved. It was so engaging and so very moving and a true spiritual experience.”

  - Cathy Burns in attendance at St. Augustine’s Church in Troy

"The Mystery Players' depiction of Jesus’ Passion left my wife and myself so moved that we cannot talk about it without choking up with emotion. My wife and I are 83. We graduated from St. Marys’ Academy in Little Falls. We have heard or read the Passion for 75 years or more and seen it depicted in the movies or on TV, but have never been so close to the many messages of love and forgiveness."

  - Bill and Ellen Bennett in attendance in Herkimer

"I write to commend you and the Immaculate Heart students, as well as the adults who provided support, for a wonderful, profoundly moving, and memorable prayer experience. It was obvious that this was not just a performance, but a deeply spiritual encounter, rooted in prayer, and presented in an inviting way. You made the traditional Stations of the Cross come alive in a way that was appealing to people of all ages. Folks here are still talking about the experience."

  - Fr. Stanley Aksamit, pastor, Our Lady of Peace Church in Turners Falls, MA

“I had the honor and the privilege of seeing the show on Palm Sunday in Rome! The students were so talented, so honest, and so full of the love of Jesus in their portrayals! I had seen the show twice before, at St. Peter's Church in Rome, where I am a member. I can't congratulate all of you enough for this stunning, emotional, and heart-wrenching service! You should all be extremely proud of yourselves! Your sacrifices this school year, in order to be a part of this awesome event, prove how strong your faith is, and to be able to share that with others is simply a gift from Heaven!"

  - Mary Ellen Utter

“Wow! I am sure you will hear that response again and again from the people of your Christ the King parish who went to the presentation last evening. It was definitely a WOW! experience. I am so grateful that there are young women and men who are witnesses to Our Lord Jesus in such a compelling way.”

  - Claire in attendance at Christ the King in Albany

“My 11-year-old granddaughter and I attended your wonderful “The Way of the Cross” at St. Peter’s Church in Rome last night. We attended your meditation two years ago and were brought to tears through both experiences. My heart was touched by your powerful reenactment, and I pray everyone present will reflect on what we experienced last night... and hear the Lord as he speaks to us through you.”

  - Connie Cushman in attendance at St. Peter’s in Rome

“Wow! This is THEE most powerful Stations of the Cross I ever witnessed. What a way to spend Palm Sunday evening.”

  - Anita Jo Paukovis in attendance at Holy Family Church in Nazareth, PA

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